Meet Designer & Color Specialist Philippa Radon
London-born designer Philippa Radon has been perfecting her craft for over 30 years, guiding clients -- which range from corporate executives and celebrities to passionate homeowners -- to develop their personal home portfolio. Her creative approach and unique design and color tools help navigate them through the creative process using a combination of color mapping, layering, mindfulness and artistic flair.
“I never liked labels…I don’t ever think of myself as a ‘designer’ per se, perhaps because the demands of my craft are so multi layered. Each client has their own kaleidoscope of style and personality to be considered.”
How do you manage your clients overseas and on both coasts?
Being East Coast and West Coast is not a challenge, partly because it’s so familiar now and I use the three hour time difference to my advantage - with early morning set up (and my tea, of course). Mid-day, I log in to my office and during the evening, I follow up, so that allows me to overlap and extend my working day. Plus, I have long-established clients and contacts and have carved out a routine. My California-based clients my like to hear about life on the East Coast and vice versa. We all like the diversity.
Being from the UK and still knowing my way around London pretty well is helpful. I am reconciled to the fact that I’m always a day behind with UK correspondence - that’s just the way it is. I love going to the London shows and visiting UK vendors for alternate visual ideas that invigorate me and give me a fresh perspective to bring back to the States.
How would you define your style?
“When one has no form, one can be all forms; when one has no style, he can fit in with any style” - Bruce Lee
I’m a Cancerian, a real homebody. Part of my style comes from wanting something homey, protective, embracing. Home and design is strongly intuitive for me. I like the history of design and establishing a classic foundation with my own spin on it. Comfort really matters to me, so I think you should splurge on the basics like good couches and beds. Keeping things tactile by mixing textures and finishes, room ambiance and mood - layering things in I find to making it personal. Home is a daily experience and It’s those small details we add that give it our own sense of style
My style is a blend of many things .. because it’s how you put things together not just what they are.
I’m always switching things around. When I’m out and about I’m constantly seeing things that trigger an idea, so I’m always painting a wall or adding something new...it’s ever-evolving.
How involved are your clients in the process?
At the beginning, 110%. I need to draw out their expectations and note their likes and dislikes. Otherwise, you’ll miss the main objective. How well I know the client depends on how much they are involved. I deliver a visual outline for them to review with me, and then try and keep it to myself to assemble, implement and deliver. There is a point when I need separate time to work freely on the vision with no client interference, which could disrupt the aesthetic balance. We need some positive client surprises in our final delivery! Throughout the process, I do keep them in the loop on timeline/budget/project condition, etc. so there are no surprises. I never want them asking me what the "status" is.
What is your design philosophy?
Work hard, be kind, creative, adventurous, and trust yourself.
What is the most common color question you get?
“ I’m not sure what to do” or “ I’m not good with color “. Mostly questions that stem from a place of insecurity and lack of confidence.
What is the biggest hurdle in the design process for your customers; where do they get stuck?
They often have a hard time truly letting go of the reigns to the designer and understanding the timeline involved in honoring the design process. We have no magic wand to make it all happen overnight. For customers to gain patience and real authentic understanding to the full process is a hurdle. Things take time to make, craft, select and make sure they are the best choice. Society wants instant gratification and watches too many TV home reality shows, in my opinion.
What are the hottest design trends you’re seeing for 2020?
- Rugs are really making a statement now. After all, they represent color, pattern texture and cover a good amount of sq footage. Traditional styles in new colors like indigo, sapphire and peridot - but now borderless designs, which give them such a modern vibe.
- A focus on Wellness - adding a sense of calm and visual spiritual accent pieces, (hopefully used as intended not just for show ) crystals, diffusers etc. continues.
- Colorful kitchens - there is a shift away from white cabinets (thankfully) with strong UK influences coming to the USA like Devol, Plain English, Smallbone, and Neptune. I’m also seeing a lot of painted furniture and floors - so color is everywhere!
We get a lot of questions on how to design open concepts. How do you approach that?
It's hard to give a short answer on this. Definitely map this out - determine connecting viewpoints, establish main functional areas, key priority walls for colour/texture, where do you want the eye to focus? Is the objective to have a fluid open concept that remains large, airy and open OR to visually dissect the space and define individual functions and areas? That’s a first stage important question.
How do you prioritize your budgets?
I never work directly with clients and budget, I have in-house staff for this. My relationship with clients is artistic and creative. I’m a firm believer in keeping budget and style separate for a positive relationship. That said, budgets do need to be established, and I try and put 20% of the budget aside from day one, as the emergency fund. The project is reviewed and broken into the necessary stages of work - with a cap on each stage from the budget. This keeps us on point with decision making. If we go over on something, we know it has to be accounted for from something else and allow for that concession.
I always need that 20% fund to visual pull the end project together, and though clients protest to me being firm on not using it early on, they are glad at the end.
What color trends are you seeing for 2020?
C2's Salty Brine (C2-701) and the many versions of this, going strongly into every green imaginable, from lights to darks. Indigo and moody blues for the darker side of things. Soft, light new neutrals that are warmer and neon-bright touches.
To contact Pippa or schedule a color consultation, click HERE